We offer another exclusive Q&A Interview with Dawn DeBraal, a writer whose multiple literary works have been featured on our Spillwords pages as well as being Author of the Month of November 2022, and previously of November 2019.
You have participated in our ‘Spotlight on Writers’ series, and now officially have been voted as Author of The Month for the second time. Is there anything else about Dawn that you would like to add from our last interview?
There must be something magical about things I write in November! In 2019 I was honored with the Author of the Month, and here I am three years later! It’s just as exciting the second time around. Somehow when you most need encouragement, something inspires you to keep your pen moving, and this was the event!
Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or on a keyboard (typewriter or computer)?
I have slowed down considerably since I started my writing journey. You have to experience life before you can write. I have reached 569 short stories, poems, and drabbles that have been published in ezines and anthologies. I sit with a laptop in my lap when I am moved to create a story. Sometimes the muse takes a holiday, and that’s alright too.
What has had an influence on you or your writing since the last time we connected?
Other writers. There are some great people I’ve “met” through writing, and the community supports one another. They encourage you to stretch yourself. I try to buy their books and leave feedback. There are so many creative people out there. Joining these groups has been an inspiration. They also share submission calls where you’d be competing with them. That is amazing to me.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Something that gets banned! LOL. If you have a flock of people trying to stop others from reading what you wrote, you’ve struck a chord!
What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?
Waiting for a result. It’s agony for me, especially when it’s something you love waiting months and months. Also, when you’ve read the call wrong. I wrote a story that was 2022 words, but they wanted the story to take place in 2022 and be 206 words. Needless to say, I didn’t get that call!
What would you say is the easiest aspect of writing?
When the story is there, you are on a roll. It melts like butter. I love that.
Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?
Instinctually knowing how when it’s time to wrap the story up. Learning how to pace your writing to 3000 words and see the end needs to come soon. Also, picking up the clues I have inadvertently left along the way to tie it up. I long for the endurance to write a novel, but I run out of things to say! I am working on another series of short stories around a common theme. It will be about 50K, and I hope that will feel like I’ve written a novel.
Any advice you would like to give to your younger self?
Yes, Pay attention to Mrs. Schmidt. She was right. English is important. Learn sentence structures and punctuation. I struggle with it and thank goodness for writing programs that I still choose to ignore because it’s not the way I want the story to go.
“This word is often overused.” Yes, because it’s the best way to say something!
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
Read a lot and submit. If you don’t submit, your answer is always no, but if you do, there could be a yes! Also, learn to take rejection. It’s part of writing.
Out of your literary works we’ve published, which is your favorite? And why?
I love the innocence of the 1950s and the belief in all that is good in children’s eyes. I have enjoyed writing the whole series, but they were published in different ezines. I’ve yet to finish this collection because one of the stories decided to zoom over 5K and is still going. Only a few publishers want to do over 3K.
Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
I am working on a short storybook with a common thread going through the stories. It takes place from 1868 to 1909. I have roughed ten of the seventeen stories needed to complete the collection.
Anything you would like to communicate with the Spillwords Press Community?
I did complete my first co-novel, “what the hell happened with joan?” with Copper Rose under the pen name of Garrison McKnight. I wrote about this venture in my last interview. Advertising is horrible for me, so I appreciate the free publicity and support that Spillwords gives to its authors. Hopefully, someone will ask what else this author has written and look for other works.
Thank you, Spillwords, friends, readers, and other authors, for this honor and the opportunity to steal your time and give you my take!
NOV 2019 / NOV 2022 AUTHOR OF THE MONTH at Spillwords.com
Dawn DeBraal lives in rural Wisconsin with her husband, Red, two rescue dogs, and a stray cat. She has published over 550 drabbles, short stories, and poems in online ezines and anthologies, including Spillwords, Black Hare Press, Black Ink Fiction, Blood Song Books, Zimbel House Publishing, Terror House Magazine, CafeLit UK, Potato Soup Journal, Impspired Magazine, Commuter Lit, The World of Myth, Valiant Scribe, Wicked Shadow Press, Unsettling Reads, and many more. She co-wrote a novel under the pen name of Garrison McKnight, nominated for 2019 Pushcart Award by Falling Star Magazine, Mystery Category winner, 2021 SOOP contest, and runner-up in 2022 Horror Short Story Contest.